Elena Zaccario, who works at an office building near Battery Park, said she was too startled to grab her camera until the planes' third fly-by.
"Needless to say, everyone was concerned and upset about not being notified like in previous 'military fly-overs,"" she said. "Other offices on other floors fled the building in panic. Not acceptable!"
According to officials, the flight -- authorized by the FAA -- came in as low as 1000 feet to 150 feet above the city as it made a large circle over Manhattan, Staten Island, and New Jersey.
Self-evacuations of buildings in lower Manhattan and New Jersey, including the New York Mercantile Exchange, took place during the fly over.
According to multiple agencies, they were notified of the flyover, however the general public was not notified.
The Defense Department conducted the photo opportunity over the Hudson River. The planes flew over Lower Manhattan and in the vicinity of the Statue of Liberty during a 15 minute, pre-planned flight.